It’s that time again for EA to impress us with their 2017 line up and what’s coming down the pipeline for 2018. Their presentation and a line up of games were decent but still predictable as many of their games are annualized or previously revealed. The gameplay and features for each game shown were impressive and all fans have something to look forward to for this year. Let’s take a look and see how EA’s press conference stacked up this year.
EA showed off their signature series of games of Madden, FIFA, Need For Speed, NBA Live, Star Wars Battlefront II, and Battlefield 1. They also revealed two brand new IPs called Anthem and A Way Out. Here is a breakdown of the announcements and/or features that are coming for EA’s yearly sports games, what’s new in Need For Speed, and multiplayer gameplay reveal of Star Wars Battlefront II.
EA is excited that Battlefield 1 brought the brutally and warfare of WWI to 20 million gamers across all platforms. New maps are being introduced starting this month and well into the fall season with a brand new update called “In The Name of Tsar.” This new update will bring new soldier types like the Russian Army and female soldiers to the battlefield. Brand new locations located in Russia and a total of 6 new multiplayer maps across the globe. The Tsar update will begin in September of 2017 and they are working on a brand new gameplay mode for smaller battles for players seeking competitive eSports.
FIFA 18 will continue the story of Alex Hunter from the previous FIFA entry. New features include brand new customization, signature moves, and customization of your own player-created team. The main campaign called “Hunter Returns” will feature personalities and commentators across many soccer outlets in order to create an immersive experience for Alex Hunter. It is great to see that this new direction for EA of creating a sports narrative game along with multiplayer features seems to have resonated well with the fans. EA will host a brand new championship for FIFA 18 that rewards cash prizes and eSports glory.
Need For Speed: Payback
EA had already revealed their Fast and Furious inspired Need For Speed game before the conference. Need For Speed: Payback will follow the story of a trio of friends (Ty, Jess, and Mack) who are stealing the best cars money can buy by pulling off ‘High-Speed Heists.’ The game allows the player to switch between all three characters who are in charge of different mission objectives during the heist. This game also has Burnout inspired car combat and enemy cars have health bars, once their health depletes they crash. Need For Speed: Payback also introduces a new style of cars called ‘Relics,’ which are classic cars that can be customized into Super Cars with a ridiculous amount of speed and horsepower.
EA Original: A Way Out
One of the brand new IPs introduced at EA’s conference comes from the studio that made Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons. A Way Out is a co-op action adventure game in which two felons need to escape prison, run from the law, and traverse the wilderness in order to be reunited with their families (who are not happy to see them). Two players will control Leo and Vincent and will have to work together with online co-op or split-screen couch co-op. Leo and Vincent have to do anything and everything to complete their objectives in order to escape. A Way Out’s gameplay trailer even shows one player could be in a cut-scene while the other is observing or doing something else. Leo could be distracting the guard while Vincent breaks nearby machinery and set up an opening for Leo to pickpocket the guard. Both characters and players have to work together if they want to escape prison and outrun the law. A Way Out has a release window of 2018.
Madden 18, NBA Live 18 and Brand New IP
EA showed a glimpse of how Project Scorpio’s graphic fidelity will look with Madden 18: The Longshot. This game will also feature its own narrative driven campaign similar to FIFA 18 in which you create your player’s journey to football stardom. Anthem is a brand new game brought by Bioware and will have gameplay footage during Xbox’s E3 2017 conference and will run on Project Scorpio. The teaser trailer shown looks promising, reminiscent of Titanfall because of a robotic suit that can be worn by human and set in a world with lush environments and deadly creatures. NBA Live 18 has a brand new story campaign in which the player can choose whether to become a league player or to be the king of the streets. This brand new campaign mode is called “The One” and both sides include a variety of locations with plenty of customization, stats, and a brand new gear system!
Star Wars Battlefront II
This is the meat of what fans wanted to see, the changes and a glimpse of Star Wars Battlefont II’s multiplayer and single player story. EA kicked off the presentation with the voice actor of Commander Iden Versio presenting the new gameplay changes like Battlepoints. A new system that rewards players for in-game objectives points that can be used to unlock vehicles, new units, and heroes during the match. The better you play and work towards the objective, the faster you will unlock those in-game upgrades that could turn the tide of the battle. EA’s conference ended with a 30-minute live gameplay demo called Assault of Theed, which is set in Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace. The game will support free post-content support with new maps, heroes, and various unlockables which also includes content from future films like Star Wars: The Last Jedi. Finn and Captain Phasma have been confirmed as two new playable heroes alongside Darth Maul, Yoda, Bobba Fett, Han Solo, Luke, Darth Vader, Rey and Kylo Ren. The game will span across all eras of the Star Wars universe and the story will fill in the gaps between The Return of The Jedi and Force Awakens.
EA’s presentation was filled with awkward pauses, bad presenters, and several montages of the support they provide to eSports communities around their games. First, I have to give credit to EA this year for the placement of their sport game presentations in between their non-sport franchises. Often times EA will have a huge block of new features and what’s new when it comes to their sports game catalog. The games announced and shown felt even spaced out and keep a good momentum going across the whole presentation. Lots of the trailers and teasers shown and were well done, but having Anthem’s gameplay reveal at Xbox’s conference did hurt the excitement of a brand new IP from Bioware. Many YouTube and streaming personalities were shown throughout the presentation that showed that EA is listening and responding to their fans, but it comes across as flat or awkward when these people were given a chance to present. The YouTube personalities would often freeze up, forget lines, or stumble on their words. Star Wars Battlefront II’s live gameplay demo had a massive amount of action but marred by the constant death screens when switching between multiple well-known players of the community. EA also started the presentation with a small drumline that were wearing Patriots jerseys; they seem to be copying Sony’s orchestra from last year but on a much smaller scale that seemed unnecessary, to be honest. Many of the speakers that would be a transition from one game to the next came across as robotic and void of a persona. Commander Versio’s voice actor brought more life into the presentation and seemed way more qualified to host EA’s conference.
The Overall Message:
Overall, EA’s conference was good but nothing that we didn’t know about already. Many of the reveals were known or spoken of for weeks, and this presentation showed how the games looked in action but we did get 2 new IPs that hadn’t leaked online. Anthem’s reveal was severely hurt and lackluster since the gameplay reveal will be hosted by Microsoft’s conference. A Way Out was an awesome surprise that hadn’t leaked and the trailer showed impressive gameplay considering the developers previous work. The pacing of the conference and the placement of the game announcements and trailers was good, but the presentation was overall hurt by the presenters and questionable YouTube and streaming personas. There was a large montage about the eSports surrounding EA’s games but with nothing new to say, they could have left that stuff out or announced a new partnership to support eSports players. EA’s press conference was better than most years but overall predictable with 2 neat surprises.